|Bandai 1/144 scale Millennium Falcon Work-in-Progress: Basecoat, Panel Lines & Decals on Lower/Upper Hull|
Let me explain. Midway through the Millennium Falcon project, I had added an airbrush system to my set of tools. However when I had begun this project, water decals were being used to represent colored panels on the hull. In terms of realism, painting the panels will always be a better option but then I couldn't very well have a hotchpotch of hull panels comprising some with decals mixed with others that are painted. So caught in two minds, unsure whether to strip panels containing the colored decals and repaint, or to proceed using only decals and not paint, I did nothing. Finally in a moment of clarity, I decided to go the latter route so as not to let all my previous work go to waste.
|Primer and paints used on the Millennium Falcon's Upper and Lower Hull, in addition to water decals|
Process-wise nearly half the work had already been completed more than a year ago. Way back then I had primed, basecoated and then gloss coated both the Upper and Lower Hull in preparation for decal application on the individual armor panels. Shortly after though, everything just got mothballed.
|Millennium Falcon Lower Hull Work-in-Progress: After primer coat, basecoat and clear gloss top coat|
|Millennium Falcon Lower Hull Work-in-Progress: After panel lining with an oil-based wash|
|Millennium Falcon Lower Hull Work-in-Progress: After applying water-based decal markings|
To get the ball rolling again, I took both hulls out of storage and began panel lining them. Past experience had alerted me to Bandai plastic's proneness to cracking when exposed to enamel thinner. To combat this predicament I used oil-based (instead of enamel) washes for panel lining. This allowed me to clean any excess wash with odorless mineral spirit or white spirit. Both are much gentler on the Bandai plastic. Since the switch, I haven't had the Bandai plastic crack on me.
|Millennium Falcon Upper Hull Work-in-Progress: After primer coat, basecoat and clear gloss top coat|
|Millennium Falcon Upper Hull Work-in-Progress: After panel lining with an oil-based wash|
|Millennium Falcon Upper Hull Work-in-Progress: After applying water-based decal markings|
In terms of decal I will always favor water-based ones over either dry transfer or sticker decals. Having worked with the latter recently, it only made me more appreciative of the water decals that Bandai provided for the 1/144 scale Millennium Falcon. In this case, the beauty of using decals was two-fold. Firstly, they looked surprisingly good. Not counting the eye of an expert modeler, you would be hard pressed to tell that these were decals instead of paint. Secondly, any damage to the decals during application actually doubled up as chipped paint ... a win-win scenario.
|Both the Lower and Upper Hull have yet to be weathered|
Because the Upper and Lower Hull already looks so busy with just the basecoat, decals, panel lines and molded details, any attempt at weathering has to subtle. Too much and everything will be a dark mess. At the moment, I can't decide whether to start weathering both hulls first before assembling the two halves together or vice versa. We'll see ... soon hopefully. There is a sense of gratification in bringing an abandoned project back to life. Since my unbuild kits now number more than finished ones, getting another project up and moving towards the finishing line, well, feels great. And with that I leave you with a totally unrelated quote from the world's deadliest spy, Mr. Sterling Archer, “Something, something, danger zone! I know. I’m not even trying anymore.”